A meeting of the Catholic Church’s governing body and US bishops has been held in India, in the latest development in a new US effort to roll out vaccine trials and expand access to the global vaccine.
Cardinal George Pell, the US bishops president, is expected to make his first visit to India on Thursday and Friday.
He is expected also to address the bishops conference on Saturday, which has been called in recent weeks to address a growing international concern over a pandemic.
India is the world’s third-largest country, with more than 60 million people.
The Catholic Church has a strong presence in India.
In 2010, Cardinal Pell was appointed the first cardinal in the country’s history to lead a major papal visit.
He is also a strong supporter of the Vatican’s policy of “open access” to vaccines and has called for more collaboration among vaccine makers, healthcare workers and public health officials to make sure they are effective.
“In recent weeks, the bishops’ conference in India has been a major focus for vaccine trials.
The bishops will be meeting with senior members of the Indian dioceses healthcare system, which is working with other countries to conduct clinical trials and evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccines,” a statement from the Vatican said.
“They will also discuss the current state of vaccine research and development in India.”
The US Catholic bishops have been working to roll back some of the most stringent restrictions in the world on vaccine trials, including allowing the public to view some trials.